Welcome news in New South Wales, Australia:
Laws giving parents of children born through surrogacy full legal recognition have passed through the NSW Parliament, meaning they will no longer have to resort to adoption. Under the laws, couples will be able to apply for orders which recognise the parental relationship.
The scheme will make it easier to enrol their surrogate child in school, make decisions about their health care and apply for a passport on their behalf, NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said on Thursday. The parentage orders also ensure children have access to a range of rights they would otherwise be denied, such as inheritance and eligibility for compensation arising from their parents’ death or injury.
The laws are largely based on national model provisions developed by the Standing Committee of Attorneys General, and will be applied retrospectively to parents who are now lawfully raising children under the age of 18. But the court must be satisfied that the arrangement was entered into prior to conception, was not a commercial arrangement and all parties consent to granting the order.
The Law Society of NSW has welcomed the legislation, with its president Mary Macken saying it means greater certainty for children and parents, recognising a relationship that typically already exists between the applicants and the child. Previously, adoption was the only avenue for people with children born through surrogacy to gain full parenting rights.
Mr Hatzistergos said that while commercial surrogacy will remain illegal, the laws clarify altruistic surrogacy arrangements. ‘While it will still be illegal to profit from surrogacy, the birth mother in an altruistic surrogacy will have a legal entitlement to be reimbursed for expenses such as medical care and counselling,’ he said